Sunday, August 10, 2008

But then if we consider what our spirit is, we have reason to lie down flat upon our faces, and confess God’s glory and our own shame. When it is at the best, it is but willing, but can do nothing without the miracle of Grace. Our spirit is hindered by the body, and cannot rise up whither it properly tends, with those great weights upon it. It is foolish and improvident; large in desires, and narrow in abilities; naturally curious in trifles, and inquisitive after vanities; but neither understands deeply, nor affectionately relishes the things of God; pleased with forms, cousened with pretences, satisfied with shadows, incurious of substances and realities. It is quick enough to find doubts, and when the doubts are satisfied, it raises scruples, that is, it is restless after it is put to sleep, and will be troubled in despite of all arguments of peace. It is incredibly negligent of matters of Religion, and most solicitous and troubled in the things of the world. We love our selves, and despise others; judging most unjust sentences, and by peevish and cross measures; Covetousness and ambition, gain and Empire are the proportions by which we take account of things. We hate to be governed by others, even when we cannot dress our selves; and to be forbidden to do or have a thing, is the best art in the world to make us greedy for it. The flesh and the spirit are perpetually at strife; the spirit pretending that his ought to be the dominion, and the flesh alleging that this is her state, and her day. We hate our present condition, and know not how to better ourselves, our changes being but like the tumblings and tossings in a fever, from trouble to trouble, that’s all the variety. We are extremely inconstant, and always hate our own choice: we despair sometimes of God’s mercies, and are confident in our own follies; as we order things, we cannot avoid little sins, and do not avoid great ones. We love the present world, though it be good for nothing, and undervalue infinite treasures, if they be not to be had till the day of recompenses. We are peevish, if a servant does but break a glass, and patient when we have thrown an ill cast for eternity;
Throwing away the hopes of a glorious Crown for wine, and dirty silver. We know that our prayers, if well done, are great advantages to our state, and yet we are hardly brought to them, and love not to stay at them, and wander while we are saying them, and say them without minding and are glad when they are done, or when we have a reasonable excuse to omit them. A passion does quite overturn all our purposes, and all our principles, and there are certain times of weakness in which any temptation may prevail, if it comes in that unlucky minute.
This is a little representment of the state of man.

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